Consumer Decisions on Storage of Packaged Foods

Amy M. Lando, Sara B. Fein

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 307-313, May 2007

Volume 27, Issue 5: Pages 307–313

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We investigate the causes of consumer uncertainty regarding storage of packaged foods by examining the characteristics of the consumers, the type of food products and packaging, and where the product was stored at purchase. Consumers' self-reported refrigeration practices from the 1998 Food Safety Survey are analyzed descriptively and by logistic regression. Eleven per- cent of the 2,001 respondents reported difficulty during the past three months in deciding whether to refrigerate a packaged food. When consumers do have difficulty, it is likely that the products either are new to them or need to be stored in an unexpected way. Those most likely to report uncertainty about whether to refrigerate were people of middle age and people likely to be more attuned to food safety issues - those who have some college or higher education, who look at many sources of food information, and who thought that a household member had a recent foodborne illness. The results suggest that additional education may be needed to inform consumers about proper refrigeration and that storage information on packages is particularly important for foods that are stored at room temperature until opened but that then need refrigeration.

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